Presenting ideas, or inspiring confusion?

by Peter Watts

I opened a Twitter account in order to have access to the random thoughts of one of my favorite authors, Christopher Moore. His humor makes the dullest journeys enjoyable, and if you find yourself in a bookstore pre-flight I would especially recommend “The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove” to all business travellers.

Moore is a great communicator not just on the printed page, but with his fans, and I recently saw a Tweet concerning an interview Moore gave to the “Ink and Page” blog.

In response to a question about his use of social media, Moore suggests a new test that I think should be applied to all presentations. We’ll call it “Moore’s Law of Attention Deficit Disorder”.

 Is your presentation constructed to “promote ADD, rather than an exchange of ideas”?

Within training classes I talk about the guiding principal of “Never under-estimate the ability of your audience to completely miss the point.” Moore’s Law of Attention Deficit Disorder describes perfectly what causes the phenomena; we hit audiences with way too much information!

Every presentation should contain a key message; a single idea that holds everything together and provides narrative structure. If the audience is not to become the victim of an acute ADD, it’s essential to prune the presentation. Cut, cut, cut, and then cut some more. Anything not directly connected to the key message has got to go!

At the end of the interview Moore provides golden guidance for all presenters. It’s contained in the penultimate line, in speech marks. I’ll leave you to read it for yourself, along with hopefully that excellent novel about the Lust Lizard.

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